dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog

Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

dkSez : : : : : : Don Kahle's blog random header image

Gaming RBG’s Replacement

September 24th, 2020 by dk
Respond

Nobody knows how replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court will go. But here are a handful of spun scenarios to show how it could go.

Don’t be distracted by details that don’t matter. And don’t lose sight of a few seemingly unrelated matters that will definitely tip the calculus of the key players in this drama.

There are 434 members of the House of Representatives and 99 Senators who don’t matter. How this plays out is up to three, and only three, people: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and President Donald Trump. Assume each knows more than we think they do.

In normal times (Remember those?), a Supreme Court nomination is only about itself. The power of a lifetime appointment drowns out any other considerations. But these are not normal times. Decisions and strategies rotate around the dark matter of this November’s election. Ignore the denials. Politicians rarely admit to considering politics.

Other factors complete the constellation being considered by Pelosi, McConnell and Trump. In chronological order: a stopgap spending bill, the next COVID stimulus package, filling John McCain’s seat permanently, counting the November votes, and the latest challenge to Obamacare.

Make no mistake. Pelosi could have shut down large parts of the government next week if she had wanted to. Government funding was scheduled to run out at midnight on September 30.

It wouldn’t have stopped the Senate from meeting and confirming a new Supreme Court justice, but she could have shown in stark relief that nothing else matters to the Republicans. Funding is scheduled now to extend until December 11. The unanswered question is what concessions did Pelosi receive for her acquiescence?

Pelosi knows very well that Trump wishes he could be talking about another batch of COVID relief checks (with his name on them) at rallies. Something happened to prevent that political deal from coming together. What? Pelosi knows, even if we don’t.

What McConnell knows better than anyone is how to count votes. He may have one fewer in late November. Voters will decide on November 4 whether Sen. Martha McSally keeps her Arizona Senate seat. If Democratic challenger Mark Kelly wins what is technically a special election, he could join the Senate as early as November 30.

Why wouldn’t McConnell delay any vote until after the election? A lame duck confirmation would give his vulnerable Senators some breathing room. He may still do that, but that’s not the current talking point. Again, assume he knows what we don’t.

The Supreme Court will have a busy November. If the election is close, there may be a half-dozen Florida-style recounts to administer and adjudicate. Having a clear majority (without relying on Chief Justice John Roberts) in those chaotic days would be handy for Republicans.

And then there’s the latest court challenge to Obamacare, scheduled for oral argument on November 10, one week after Election Day. Republicans want to  erase Obama’s legacy. Strip everything else away and this may be Republicans’ long-term plan — even if that plan ends with Joe Biden becoming President in January.

==

Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

Tags: No Comments.

Everyday Trauma Afflicts Many

September 23rd, 2020 by dk
Respond

Many are still reeling from the tragedy upriver that befell so many of us two weeks ago. And by “reeling,” I mean turning in small circles, faster and faster. Each of us has had to make space for the sadness to measure what’s lost, but the world around us continues apace. This week I had to shut off the power to my house that is no longer there.

Sometimes our belongings, and almost always our homes, become part of our identity. When that aspect of our identity is no longer true, how do we not become a lesser version of ourselves? When I talk about — or even think about — my tiny house, or my neighbors, or the community around it, which verb tense should I use?

The present tense is mindless, but the past tense is heartless. Future perfect continuous fits best, but what help will that have been? You see the problem?  It’s not a natural state. Normal methods of coping tend to fail.

I’m still struggling to sequence things correctly. It takes effort to notice and care when things fall out of order. “Does it really matter? And if it does, why? (Or did I ask those questions out of order?)” The power company can’t shut off my power without knowing what my address will have been, if events arrange themselves generously and I rebuild.

Everyone I know was delighted to welcome the rain last week, and even the thunderstorms that brought the much-needed precipitation. But when the lightning and thunderclap coincided, I woke with a start, convinced from my slumber that the roof over my head was being struck by lightning. One of my Blue River neighbors told me the next day that she had exactly the same reaction!

Here’s my point — or what will have been my point, two minutes from now.

McKenzie River residents are experiencing a specific trauma related to the tragedies that converged into the Holiday Farm fire. It’s making us peculiar to others, but similar to one another. Our suffering soon will have passed. That’s fortunate for us. Before too long, we will have rejoined your ranks.

Now consider those who are very poor or unhoused or otherwise oppressed. Their trauma is not unlike ours — except that it’s accepted and unending. There is no future perfect continuous envisioned for them, but all the same handicaps apply.

Can they imagine a future time when they won’t be poor? Many can’t. They are poor and they will be poor — continuously, and not perfectly. They can’t fill out the forms for assistance correctly — they can’t help themselves — because they get things out of order. They aren’t lesser than us. They have burdens we don’t understand.

Trauma hijacks your sanity. If it’s for a short time, we make amends. When it’s continuous with no end in sight, it’s debilitating. Their identity is not less than yours and mine, but they have fewer attachments to ground them.

How do we care for the most vulnerable among us? That’s the one question I wish that someday we will have answered.

==

Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) will have written a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and archives past columns at www.dksez.com.

Tags: No Comments.

How Disinformation Works (on You)

September 19th, 2020 by dk
Respond

We have misspent four years trying to catch or conceal the culprits who disrupted our last presidential election. We haven’t learned enough about how disinformation was used to manipulate us. “Us” is not a reference to other people. Their targets include you and me. We’ve done too little to understand how their techniques affect us.

Hacking certainly happened in 2016. Senior aides had embarrassing emails stolen and published, fueling dissent between Democrats. Election records and tabulating machinery were targeted, even if they didn’t alter any outcomes.

They sought to sow distrust in our systems. And they succeeded. The real impact of their meddling has not been detected for one simple reason. It hasn’t happened yet. But it will. Very soon.

While our president has been denying there were any outside influences, he works from the inside to achieve the same goal. Citizens increasingly hate others who see things differently and doubt authorities and institutions.

Will the upcoming election be rigged? Will its outcome produce violent reactions? This administration answers yes, with little equivocation. It’s not inevitable, but it’s also not unlikely. Our democracy and self-governance has never been so imperiled.

That’s the who, what, when and why of this disinformation attack. But what about the most significant variable? Where, exactly, does this battle take place? Inside our heads and hearts — yours and mine. No one is immune.

Consider Facebook, but know that it applies to every other social media outlet as well.

You receive a friend request from somebody you don’t know or know well. It may be a real person, a stolen identity, or an invented persona. You accept, because it feels good to have more friends or followers. And then you forget about it.

Months later, you post something that expresses frustration with Oregon’s governor or Portland’s protests or any other hot-button issue. Suddenly, hundreds have “liked” your post — mostly friends of your friends. You feel popular and powerful. So you start posting more often on similar topics.

Facebook’s algorithm begins highlighting these posts to more of your actual friends, because a troll farm has boosted their predictive “engagement” score. Responding to nothing except the urges inside you, you express stronger opinions and link to others doing the same.

Old friends note the change, but they get shouted down by your new “friends.” Unconsciously, you begin to sever the connections you had before Facebook’s algorithm controlled what you see.

What you see looks like the news, but always with a slant that mirrors your own. Contrary views are hidden, except when disparaged by your “friends.”

Bit by bit, you absorb information and adopt opinions that play well with a new crowd you know only online. Meanwhile, your flesh-and-blood friends feel alienated from you — unless they haven’t noticed because the same transformation is being done to them.

Back-and-forth dialogue is reduced. Opinions change less frequently. We stop looking for common ground, because we can always find others who will agree with us. We love this virtual world and our place in it. We won’t see what we’ve lost until it’s beyond retrieving.

==

Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

Tags: No Comments.

Goodbye, Tiny Blue Spot

September 18th, 2020 by dk
Respond

A friend texted me at 11:39 that Monday night, asking if I was staying in my Blue River tiny house. I wasn’t, but I got more warning than my neighbors upriver received. They escaped shortly after midnight, with nothing but the clothes on their back.

For days we hoped the fire had capriciously skipped over our homes. Once we received a video showing total destruction, denial yielded to disbelief. Brains do weird things when traumatized. I began catastrophizing everything. The simplest tasks felt overwhelming. Every brake light felt like a life-threatening collision was about to happen.

I got confused about what I had lost and what I hadn’t. The confusion then morphed into a strange sort of discontinuity. It showed up mostly when I was drifting off to sleep. “Oh no,” I thought, “those DVDs I took out of the Blue River Library got burned up. I won’t be able to return them.” Never mind the library itself was completely destroyed.

The next night my mind drifted to a special film I had planned to attach to the skylight directly over the bed, creating an iridescent penumbra around the night sky. “No problem, I remember where I bought that film. I can replace it,” forgetting for the moment that the skylight is gone, along with the bed and the house. But not the stars!

I got things out of proportion, out of place, and out of order. My brain was coping as best it could.

I didn’t lose sight of my good fortune. My son had planned a trip upriver that night, but changed his mind because of the heat. I had offered it instead to friends from Chicago, but they decided to camp near Portland before flying home on Tuesday. For me at least, it could have been so much worse. The good memories have only been strengthened.

After 30 years of putting things into words, I wanted to build something indescribable. I had fallen in love with the quirky community of Blue River and I was happy to make a contribution to its spirit. My neighbor, Dale, marveled how people would slow down as they passed my Tiny Blue Spot. He was grateful for that.

Let me pass along a story from 25 years ago that captures the spirit of Blue River. Dale was new to town. He looked out his window one day and saw a large pig ambling by. He dropped what he was doing and followed the pig. A neighbor saw the pig from her porch and silently shrugged.

Just then, another neighbor came down the road. Dale pointed at the pig, which had rolled over to sun himself in the first neighbor’s driveway. “Is that your pig?” he asked the oncoming neighbor. She looked back at him, not at the pig, “Why, is he bothering you?” 

People settle in Blue River to not be bothered, and no strolling swine was going to change that. Friends ask if I will rebuild. I have the plans for the structure, but not for the community. How do you build — much less rebuild — quirk?

==

Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

Tags: No Comments.

Upholding the Public Trust

September 14th, 2020 by dk
Respond

The presidential campaign will consume Americans’ attention for the next two months. Debates begin in less than four weeks. Media companies can do extraordinary work to meet a deadline. They have only a few dozen days to reset their broadcast practices. They must learn new ways to enforce the community standards that inform them.

Broadcasters lease the public airwaves. This arrangement has always required them to uphold certain community standards. A code of ethics was broadly applied to the entire industry. For many years, certain behaviors and words were not allowed over the public airwaves.

This is not censorship. Maintaining standards, understood in advance and applied in all situations, is integral to the public trust. Freedom of speech should have no practical limits, but amplification carries certain responsibilities. If there’s a microphone involved, standards must be upheld.

Even and especially when a speaker won’t abide by the standards, the broadcasters must — even if that speaker is a candidate for or the current president of the United States. Granted, it’s not a good look to be turning off the microphone of the most powerful person on the planet, but decorum shouldn’t eclipse decency.

Broadcasters have tried to uphold standards for truth and honesty, but real-time fact-checking is usually impossible and always ineffective. Debunking a lie requires first repeating it, focusing attention on the false assertion, further amplifying its reach.

Instead, media companies must expand their skill set. They must learn to avert their gaze. Most media companies do not allow reporters and camerapersons to film a premeditated, ongoing crime. They are trained instead to call authorities and do what they can ethically to prevent the crime.

You’ve never seen a hostage-taker negotiate his demands over the public airwaves with a news team inside, broadcasting an “exclusive scoop.” This is why.

I grew up watching the Chicago Cubs play baseball on TV. If a fan jumped onto Wrigley Field and interrupted the game, security would corral and remove the overly exuberant fan. At least that’s what I assume happened, because broadcasters refused to show the intruder scampering across the outfield.

The same lesson applies here.

Republicans made hash of the Hatch Act during their convention. From the White House, their candidate taunted his adversary (and the media) by bragging about their willful violation: “The fact is, we’re here and they’re not.”

Media companies knew in advance that the administration intended to use the White House as a campaign backdrop. Their legal council could have told them the Hatch Act would be violated. If this event amounted to a premeditated crime, they had ample time to inform the campaign that their cameras wouldn’t be attending.

Likewise, debate moderators have time to inform both campaigns about real-time consequences for misbehavior. Both candidates could be given a list of misstatements they have made on the campaign that have been determined to be false or misleading. “Repeat any of these untruths, and your microphone will be turned off for 90 seconds.”

All sides hope for clarity in November. News outlets must demand clarity and reject confusions from the candidates.

==

Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

Tags: No Comments.

Trump is Transactional, and So Are We

September 13th, 2020 by dk
Respond

It should surprise no one that Trump secretly believes that soldiers are “losers” and “suckers,” according to reports printed this week in The Atlantic. Jeffrey Goldberg’s reporting has since been confirmed by several other news outlets.

Goldberg writes about Trump visiting the Arlington National Cemetery with Gen. John Kelly, whose son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. “Trump, while standing by Robert Kelly’s grave, turned directly to his father and said, ‘I don’t get it. What was in it for them?’”

As Americans consider whether to give Trump a second term, it’s incumbent on us to understand something important. His electoral success in 2016 originated in us — all of us. Even those who didn’t vote for him contributed. Together, we created the conditions that brought him success.

Goldberg’s quote reveals those conditions, but Trump wasn’t first to put his finger on it. I heard it first from Oregon’s top political leader, almost 15 years ago.

John Kitzhaber was Oregon’s governor from 1995 until 2003. Term limits forced him to leave the office, but he wasn’t finished. He wanted to continue his work, melding politics with his original career as an emergency room physician. He took some time to reflect on  Oregon’s politics and government before returning to public view.

Kitzhaber advocated an overhaul of Oregon’s health care delivery system. His Archimedes Movement was full of hope for change, years before people knew the name Barack Obama. But his time of reflection about how the machinery of government actually works also brought some despair.

He was trying to build a popular movement around health care reform, because he no longer believed that legislators could do the work themselves. Too many politicians, in his view, had become captive to what he called “transactional politics.” This strain of self-interest had infected the political left as well as the political right.

He could read the thought bubbles above legislators’ heads. It was similar to what Trump said at the gravesite: “I don’t get it. What was in it for them?” That virus of transactional self-interest has been virulent for decades. Special interest groups command lawmakers’ attention and control their voting decisions. Kitzhaber called it out in 2007.

It’s not just politics. Our obsession to reduce every interaction to a transaction has poisoned us. We buy on Amazon because it’s cheaper and easier than supporting the shopkeeper who raised his children with our own.

We complain when our driving habits are interrupted by necessary road maintenance because it cost us time or trouble. We ignore a neighbor’s verbal abuses heard through an open window, but get concerned when his overgrown lawn might reduce the neighborhood’s property values.

We vote for people who promise to give us what we want — whether it’s conservative judges or clean water and air. When they can’t deliver on their promises, we look for a new face who promises they know how to succeed where their predecessor failed.

We must view President Trump as someone we didn’t discover so much as invent. He embodies the transactional thinking that has dominated our lives for much too long.

==

Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

Tags: No Comments.

How to Save the Post Office for a Penny

September 12th, 2020 by dk
Respond

If Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is looking for ways to make the Postal Service more economically viable, he should read up on our first Postmaster General. Four decades before the American Revolution, Ben Franklin served as postmaster general — first for Philadelphia and then for all  of the colonies.

Under King George II, Franklin accepted the position with no salary unless the postal service earned a profit for the king. Franklin pushed the Postal Service into profitability not by cutting costs, but by expanding services.

Franklin lowered prices and expanded services to include all residents of the colonies. This sometimes required new roads to be built, but Franklin was convinced the service must be available to everyone. Others were crafting the words that shaped a nascent democracy. Franklin focused on the deeds.

Words and deeds met in the Postal Service Act of 1792. One of the nation’s first steps after independence was to give newspapers a discounted postal rate, expanding the viability of a free press. The same law protected privacy, stipulating punishments for opening anyone else’s mail.

It’s probably too late for newspapers to be given a deal that is similar to what Franklin crafted, though it could bring printed newspapers back from their current near-death experience. Would people read a newspaper that reflects on the day’s events when they get home from work, instead of turning to TV news for that?

I for one would love to see somebody try. It would create a different sort of reflective daily experience — separate from the non-stop, multi-tasking, over-hyphenated frenzy we call modern life. More importantly, it would make the mail uplifting again.

Almost nothing comes in the mail these days that produces any good feelings. Nobody circles the 5th of the month because that’s when their mortgage or power or cable bill arrives. Catalogs and junk mail fill our mailboxes, but they don’t bring joy. Like it or not, Amazon boxes are the most anticipated mail for most Americans.

Taking a page from Franklin’s playbook, here’s how DeJoy could reinsert the Postal Service back into people’s lives. Bring back the penny postcard. It would be a loss leader, but it would make people care about getting their mail again. Nobody will work hard to fix something that doesn’t matter to most people.

Imagine a world where you could send a quick note to anyone in America for a penny. Would that world not be better than the one we have? People would have new reasons to be kind and thoughtful to one another. Mail carriers would be everyday heroes again. Staff retention would improve. Training costs would decline.

Photographers, designers and gag writers would churn out picture postcards to celebrate every place and every day. America would knit itself back together again. Scrapbooks would make a comeback. Americans would begin thinking about what to save for grandchildren who have not yet been born.

We’ve pretended lately that the permanence of pen and paper isn’t necessary. We’re wrong. Where would we be if Franklin and 55 others hadn’t signed a declaration to direct and shape our future?

==

Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

Tags: No Comments.

Rebuild Stronger with Sidewalks and Sewers

September 11th, 2020 by dk
Respond

It’s an accepted public service trope to promise a devastated community that it will be built back stronger. Slogans are easy. Rebuilding is hard.

How can we build back the McKenzie River communities so that they are stronger? After this week’s incineration, what can government do to bring things back better? It was a once-in-a-lifetime conflagration. It deserves a response of similar scale.

County officials refer to Highway 126 from Thurston to McKenzie Bridge as Lane County’s longest Main Street. Except for one back road through Marcola to Walterville, there’s only one way in and one way out. My sons and I have driven that stretch hundreds of times over the past five years. I’ve had some time to think about it.

There are a few substantial communities along that 40-mile ribbon of road. And there’s occasional commerce. But they are seldom in the same places. The county and the state should seize this opportunity to enhance that stretch in a generational way. Bring commerce to communities and create communities around commerce.

Time is of the essence. Those who lost everything will soon begin shaping their plans. They want to return to the land they consider home, even if their structures and belongings have been reduced to the soot the rest of us are wiping off our cars.

Building back better means things will be different. The shock from the tragedy will begin to wear off. Leaders must help residents envision a future that isn’t stubbornly identical to the past. Otherwise, nostalgia impedes progress.

Give nearby residents a new way to reach the shops — and one another — without having to walk on the shoulder of the highway. Short stretches of sidewalks would make a small difference, but not commensurate with the total devastation that occurred.

A better solution in some areas would be carving out a right-of-way behind residences for utilities, plus a walking path or a graveled alley. Once there’s even the slightest transportation network, communities begin to flourish. Back-fence conversations are always more intimate than what people say from their front porches.

Give neighbors a safe, “locals only” path to the stores along the highway. This also benefits those who are just passing though. Removing power lines from the highway’s edge will make that drive even more beautiful. Who dreamed that could even be possible?

Where home sites dot along a criss-crossing network of local roads, precious few businesses are walkably nearby. Blue River in particular has a well-developed community, but almost no businesses they can support. 

Restaurants and bars once bustled. They’re gone now. The grocery store in Blue River’s center became a storage unit for Christmas Treasures. What can bring these areas back better? Sewers.

If disaster funds are used to enhance public infrastructure in densely populated areas, property owners will be able to build back better. Again, everyone will benefit. The river — our drinking water — will benefit from reduced septic seepage.

Building back better will take a long time. The first step: rebuild hope.

==

Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com. Kahle built a vacation home in Blue River that was almost certainly incinerated early Tuesday morning.

Tags: No Comments.

Asheville Can Teach Eugene About Reparations

August 31st, 2020 by dk
Respond

Eugene City Council is taking its traditional and well deserved August recess. Our childhood experience of recess taught us that it’s healthy to get outside and run around for a while. You make new friends, learn new tricks. And then, after you’re back in your seat, you discover you have some new thoughts.

Suddenly you see clearly what didn’t make sense before. Multiplication is really just addition for lazy people. All you have to do is add the first number to itself over and over again, until the number of repetitions equals the second number. I learned that concept while racing my friend Scott around the playground swings.

When Mrs. Savage grades penmanship, she wants the bottoms of letters to be straight across, unless they have a tail that dangles below. The letter “h” is a consonant that wishes it was a vowel, so it sometimes tries to act like one. History isn’t what happened — history is how people who came later understand what happened.

Recess gives us time to reflect. The harder we study something, the more important it is to get out and chase somebody around the swingset. You don’t stop thinking about the questions you have. You stop thinking about how you’re thinking about it. Insight emerges from the absence of effort.

Into this intermission for incubation, I’d like to drop an idea. Reparations. Oregon’s past policies toward Blacks were reprehensible. And we’re not talking about the ancient past. Many native Oregonians remember firehouses sounding their alarm every night at 6. This practice began with Oregon’s so-called “sunset laws,” which required Blacks to leave town before nightfall.

The original Ferry Street Bridge displaced Eugene’s most vibrant Black neighborhood, because they lacked the political power to prevent it. Other injustices against Blacks — large and small — continued. Some still do.

Oregon was never a slave state, but that’s hardly the point. It was certainly a White supremacy state. Oregon had more members of the Ku Klux Klan than any state outside the Deep South. And so, reparations are in order.

Another progressive town in a once-retrograde state has shown the way. Last month, Asheville, NC’s city council voted unanimously to alter “budgetary and programmatic priorities” to begin leveling the local playing field. Their leaders resolved to favor those who have been victimized by systemic racism for generations.

Please note that no one in North Carolina has proposed sending checks to descendants of slaves. As Oregon’s history shows, disenfranchisement continued — continues! — long after slavery ended. Making amends now is the order of the day.

Asheville will focus on increasing generational wealth — something African Americans were deprived of through economic and regulatory discrimination. Disparity of wealth between races hobbles Asheville’s growth, safety and character.

They intend to close that gap by “increasing minority home ownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities. [They will build] strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay, neighborhood safety and fairness within criminal justice,” according to their resolution.

After recess is over, Eugene should learn from Asheville’s lead.

==

Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

Tags: No Comments.

Rethinking Recreation

August 30th, 2020 by dk
Respond

As September sneaks up on us, people are rushing out for Oregon’s uniquely moist forest air. We know September will bring new family challenges. August is when we all take a deep breath. And some breaths are deeper than others.

Every viewpoint along the coast was overflowing last weekend. Every reserved campsite was taken. My parents called it enjoying the Great Outdoors. My children think of it as just getting out. It’s still great, but everyday activities don’t require capital letters.

Everyone recharges in their own way, so it’s important you learn what works best for you. When my boys were little, we developed two different vacation strategies. We mastered the quick getaway and the deep diversion.

Getaways were often unplanned but they followed a familiar script. It might afford us only 44 hours, but we learned to make the most of it. We’d see at noon that tomorrow’s calendar was clear. We’d throw essentials into a few shopping bags. We’d leave work and school early that day, locked and loaded. We’d drive a couple hours — just far enough to be sure we were really gone.

Over dinner, we’d plan the next day’s activities. I would often pick up the local newspaper to see what’s going on. We’d spend two nights away, then race home just after dawn to resume our routines by breakfast. Others thought we were gone for a day, but we knew it had been two.

We could do a quick getaway every month or so. We were always watching for calendar openings, scouting far-enough destinations, keeping our plans nimble. The deep diversion trips were different. I learned that I needed three weeks to do what today we’d call a “hard reset” — completely powering down, allowing all systems to restart fresh.

If accommodations included an indoor pool and a TV, I knew the boys would be well entertained. I would need the first week to sort through whatever work I was leaving behind and the last week to gear up for what was ahead. Only during that middle week could I really relax with my family and explore with them what the area had to offer.

These strategies have served me well over the years. Do you know what works best for you? We all know that our work requires special training and certain skills. Should we be surprised to learn that cessation of work does too?

Recreation should allow you to literally re-create yourself. You may have to reimagine your circumstances and reevaluate your options. You may need to reframe, recategorize, and reorganize. You can’t rotate your tires while the vehicle is in motion.

Vacation should produce a special sort of emptiness — vacating your regular routine, letting go of every assumption, clearing away barriers and obstacles. Deep rejuvenation will give you new energy and insight for whatever challenges lie ahead.

If all you’ve done is rest and relax, rewarding yourself for the work you’ve done, beware. You may not be rebuilding anything except a deepening resentment that work and life is hard.  It is, but you can revive yourself — if you learn how.

==

Don Kahle (fridays@dksez.com) writes a column each Friday for The Register-Guard and blogs at www.dksez.com.

Tags: No Comments.